Zapata

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Overview

Years ago it was inconceivable that the people living in the Zapata Swamp, a UNESCO-recognised biosphere reserve in western Cuba, would one day stop using the forest here to make charcoal, extract precious wood, or hunt crocodile and deer. San Lázaro Channel, was one of the channels they use to bring the charcoal from the island to the sea, same on that you´ll travel to your Live Aboard Yacht for your accommodation during your fishing week.

In 2000, UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – declared the wetlands, which occupy the entire Zapata peninsula and surrounding areas, a biosphere reserve. A year later, the Ramsar Convention included it on its list of wetlands of international importance. In 2003 Ciénaga de Zapata has been declared a World Heritage Site. The Ciénaga de Zapata, in the province of Matanzas, it is the best-preserved wetlands system in the Caribbean islands.

The Zapata peninsula contains the largest and most important wetlands in the Caribbean. Covering 1.5 million acres (6,000 square km), the immense Zapata Biosphere Reserve includes marshes, peat bogs, mangroves, coral reefs, and forests that support a complex web of life, including frogs, turtles, fish, shellfish, crocodiles, birds, and countless plants and insects, making its conservation a top priority for the entire region.

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Sparsely populated and zealously protected, most of the region lies within the Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve. The Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata is similar to the Everglades National Park in Florida. The vast wetland ecosystem supports many important species and diverse habitats. This unique setting is home to many plants and animals found nowhere else.

It is an extensive ecosystem made up of mangrove forests, keys, seagrass beds, coral reef barriers and deep reefs, including the Cazones Gulf, a deep underwater canyon that is the main recruitment site of important commercial species such as porgies and groupers. The conservation status of coral reefs in the area is most remarkable. It comprises an important system of gyre-like currents.

Migration Way Station

The protected wetlands of the Zapata peninsula attract hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. Many birds winter in Cuba, and many more use the island as a stopover when migrating between North and South America.

Bird Sanctuary

The protected wetlands of the Zapata peninsula attract hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. Many birds winter in Cuba, and many more use the island as a stopover when migrating between North and South America.

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DIVING

The Zapata Peninsula is an idyllic playground for ecotourists and scuba divers. All the water surrounded this protective area, will be your diving zone for the week. So, you imagine what we are talking about, and count on us that we´ll continue our major efforts for more protection of the marine environment. Zapata area will be your base for the week, diving with fast diving skiffs from the live aboard Georgiana.

This territory is characterized by both the presence of considerable peat depth and the fact that it is a low, flat area from the viewpoint of relief. Top height above sea level is only about 10 meters, while top depth in below-sea-level coastal zones is as follows: 2 meters in the salt-marsh area and from 1-600 meters in the sea coastal zone.

It was also one of Fidel's favorite areas because of the 1961 victory.

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